The Piute Ponds wetland complex is located on Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB) near Rosamond Dry Lake in Southern California. The wetlands provide year round habitat and are managed in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Sanitation District Number 14. Ducks Unlimited, along with our many partners and volunteers, recently completed a major wetland restoration project that will provide critical habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, colonial waterbirds, and songbirds, including the tricolored blackbird, recently listed as endangered by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
In partnership with EAFB staff, volunteers, and funding from a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant and EAFB, Ducks Unlimited completed restoration work on the site which included opening up 100 acres of wetlands that had become overgrown with bulrush, and installing more efficient water control structures to better manage the water flows in the wetlands. The project resulted in a pristine hemi-marsh, having a mixture of 60% open water and 40% emergent vegetation, which will provide excellent fresh growing cattails and bulrush sought by tricolored blackbirds and breeding waterfowl. With newly installed concrete flash-board structures, wetland managers can maintain optimal water depths and convey water as needed between wetland units. The first spring and summer flooding following restoration yielded >200 ducklings fledged, and a very successful waterfowl season in the fall.
The wetlands and associated habitats that make up the Piute Ponds complex provide a key linkage between Pacific Flyway migration corridors in the Central Valley and Nevada with southern wintering grounds in Mexico. Ducks Unlimited conservation staff is thankful for the many DU volunteers, led by Richard Paquette, who worked tirelessly to ensure the success of this project, and we look forward to continuing these efforts in our shared vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.